You would think that even our quixotic president and chimerical legislators would be beholden to an all inclusive, environmentally responsible, sustainable Outdoor Recreation Industry that generates a GNP of $887,000,000,000 and supports 76,000,000 permanent jobs, not temporary jobs.
Can America’s Great Outdoors industry get the attention of radical, uninformed legislators and get enough support to move America forward? Will our mainstream media comprehend it all?
Nope, not happening in Podunk and so far, not in Washington, DC.
Think instead where they want to take us – coal, fossil fuels, a handful of temp jobs, dead streams, dirty Flint-like water, Bejing air quality, pocketed campaign reelection funds, and blighting pollution when their “good guys” walk away. Too, think extractors, a few temporary jobs; pollution that will last a thousand years, and ends the last wild food source we have in abundance (salmon). That extraction crowd will surely leave a taxpayer Superfund cleanup expense beyond comprehension. That’s what’s at stake in Washington, DC – home of the restless, irritable and discontent.
Commentary by the editors, not ASA
FY2018 Budget Must Support Outdoor Recreation
WASHINGTON, DC, June 26, 2017
America’s Great Outdoors is vital to the quality of life for most Americans and key to the nation’s $887 billion per year outdoor recreation industry. The federal government manages nearly one-third of the nation’s surface area, making it integral to the health of an industry that supports some 7.6 million jobs. The Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable (ORIR) urges support for federal outdoor recreation programs in the FY2018 budget now being crafted by the Congress.
Federal funds, like our funds, need to be spent carefully and strategically. ORIR believes that spending on visitor infrastructure and staffing for recreation programs on public lands and waters is a strategic investment that supports the outdoor recreation economy and provides other important tangible benefits, including improved mental and physical health and a connection to America’s Great Outdoors.
The current operations of the National Park Service and other federal agencies managing the nation’s public lands and waters are not sustainable under budgets that don’t reflect operating cost increases, much less attack the tens of billions of dollars in deferred maintenance on public lands. The maintenance backlog has increased under Democratic and Republican Administrations and Congresses alike and has a growing, negative impact on access to and enjoyment of recreation opportunities in national parks and forests, wildlife refuges and more. Our federal lands and waters need substantial appropriations in conjunction with an innovative financial strategy that delivers new, non-appropriated resources through fees, partnerships and more.
Alternative funding for a portion of federal recreation infrastructure and operations costs can be developed, but tight federal budgets cannot be allowed to reduce public access and enjoyment in the near term.
We have clear models for success in enhancing outdoor recreation, including specialized funding programs long supported by recreationists and widespread private investments in facilities like ski areas and national park lodging on public lands. These models must be embraced and expanded for sustainable, flexible and appropriate quality recreation opportunities to thrive on federally-managed lands and waters. And all fees now paid in conjunction with recreational activities, from fees paid by ski areas on national forests to fuel taxes generated through use of wheeled and tracked off-highway recreation vehicles, need to be directed back to support federal recreation efforts.
ORIR calls upon the Trump Administration and Congress to support and protect outdoor recreation on federal lands and waters with a sound and innovative budget for the federal land agencies that are charged with protecting and providing access to America’s Great Outdoors for the outdoor recreationists of today and tomorrow. We further urge additional investment in infrastructure on public lands and waters, defined not just as roads and trails but also broadband, water systems and developed visitor sites including campgrounds.
For more information on the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable, click here . . .
OUTDOOR RECREATION INDUSTRY ROUNDTABLE – is a coalition of America’s leading outdoor recreation trade associations working to promote the policy and legislative reforms needed to grow the outdoor recreation economy. Roundtable members represent the thousands of U.S. businesses that produce vehicles, equipment, gear, apparel and services for the millions of Americans who enjoy our nation’s parks, waterways, byways, trails, and outdoor spaces. Combined, the various business sectors within the outdoor recreation industry generate $887 billion-per-year in economic activity and provide an estimated 7.6 million direct jobs. Coalition members produce the eight largest recreation tradeshows in the U.S. and their members annually contribute $40 billion in federal excise tax, sales tax, and duties.
NOTE: Featured Image a lady angler with nice Colorado, Cheesman Canyon rainbow. Designated “Gold Medal Water” by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Cheesman Canyon offers the opportunity to catch huge rainbow and brown trout. Photo credit Colorado Fly Fishing Adventures.
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing®, our national angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.
American Sportfishing Association
1001 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 501 Alexandria, VA 22314 United States